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5 Things to Remember when Caring for a Rehomed Dog

From animal advocates and stars of the Netflix documentary Life in the Doghouse, Ron Danta and Danny Robertshaw, comes Forever Home, out on January 31.

The book follows the story of this compassionate and determined duo as they share their journey of not only saving more than 13,600 dogs in need, but also providing those dogs with a sanctuary and safe space to recover in their own home, 

In this exclusive column, Danny and Ron have combined their extensive knowledge of running Danny & Ron’s Dog Rescue to enlighten us on five things people overlook when caring for a rehomed dog. Rehomed dogs need a particular kind of care and love, and Danny and Ron make a ‘lifetime promise’ to every dog they come in contact with that they will never be in a shelter again, loose on the streets, hungry or unhappy, or alone. 

This article is their way of trying to help others do the same.

"People’s best instincts are at work when they rescue a dog — from a shelter, from the streets, from anywhere. 
But those loving instincts don’t come with an instruction manual. 
There’s a lot that people can get wrong about how to care for their new family member, who may have been through the school of hard knocks and needs special consideration. 

Here are the top five things new parents of rescued dogs overlook — and how to get them right.

#1. Your dog has something to tell you 

Many people like to tell their rescued dog what the dog needs. They want to start being physically affectionate right away or begin training in order to check off everything on their bucket list for canine perfection. They might insist on it. 

But the dog may not be ready. They may be traumatized by past experiences. Give your new pal a little time to tell you who they are, to let you know what they need rather than have to immediately start responding to what you need. 

Even a scared, shy dog will eventually start to tell you their story, give you some of their memory. They will share what makes them afraid (men in hats? children?) and what makes them feel secure (perhaps a soft toy to carry around or loving strokes under the chin). 

If you don’t force things and go slowly and thoughtfully, your dog will come around. And you’ll learn something about their past in the process. 

We have had one dog for 10 years, a little Chihuahua named Sweet Pea, who to this day will not go through a doorway unless you look first and let her know the coast is clear. Something absolutely terrifying must have happened to her with the opening and closing of doors.

#2. Newly rescued dogs are often flight risks 

Before a dog figures out that they’re finally in the right place, they may want to bolt. And they will be very good at it, even while attached to you by the leash. So often you’ll see on Facebook that a petrified dog has pulled out of their collar and escaped. 

Because of that, we strongly recommend starting out a newly rescued dog in a martingale collar. If you adjust it correctly, it will tighten around the neck when they try to back out of it — but not to the point of choking your furry friend. It’s a very humane way of making sure your scared dog remains safely with you.

#3. Your dog is faster than you 

So often when a dog gets loose, people run after them to try to catch up. It will never work. A dog can easily go 15 to 20 miles an hour. A very fit jogger might go at something like 8 miles an hour. 

Thus, if your dog pulls away from you, never chase them. That's the surest way to keep them at a distance. Rather, sit down with some treats and wait it out. See if the dog will come to you. It has sometimes taken us more than two weeks before a dog we see at the side of the road finally approaches us. We have to keep coming back.

If a dog is lost and can't be found, go the people-to-people route. Put up signs. Post on social media. Call the local animal control officer. Sometimes even a local radio station will make an announcement.

#4. Microchipping your dog isn't enough 

Every single pet dog should be microchipped, and the chip should be registered with your up-to-date contact information. But they should also wear a collar with your mobile phone number on it - 24 hours a day. 

A lot of people don’t have time to take a lost dog to the vet’s office or to the local animal shelter in order for someone to pass a wand over her to see if they’re chipped, but they will take the time to call the number on the collar. We can’t tell you how often we hear that a dog has shot out the front door with no collar on, or jumped out the car window at the gas station. 

With a collar that has your phone number etched into it, the chances of your dog being returned to you quickly become much greater.

#5. Always try to see things through your dog's eyes - and ears 

Whether you took in a homeless dog two weeks ago or two years ago, keep in mind that they perceive the world much differently from you.

They hear things from four times farther away, for instance, so when you blast the car radio because your favourite song has come on, the music is literally ear-splitting for him in the back seat. 

Imagine not being able to get away from something that hurt your ears - and that you didn't understand. Additionally, your dog’s sense of smell is many times greater than yours, so don’t become impatient with them when you are out for a walk and they keep sniffing the same spot. The dog is not trying to annoy you. They are simply reading the world. Give them that few minutes' extra time.

Finally, dogs are colour blind. 

A red ball in green grass is not really going to stand out to them! For dog toys, your best bets are blues and yellows."

written by Ron Danta & Danny Robertshaw from Danny & Ron's Rescue, January 2023 for Australian Dog Lover

Follow their journey on Facebook at and @dannyronsrescue on Instagram

About the Authors

Life In The Doghouse tells the inspiring story of Danny Robertshaw and Ron Danta and the remarkable stories surrounding the work they do at Danny & Ron's Rescue. Since 2005, when they rescued 600 dogs in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Danny & Ron have saved more than 13,000 abused, abandoned and starving dogs.

From animal advocates and stars of the Netflix documentary Life in the Doghouse, Ron Danta and Danny Robertshaw, Forever Home follows the story of a compassionate and determined duo as they share their journey of not only saving more than 13,600 dogs in need, but providing those dogs with a sanctuary and safe space to recover in their own home – a decision deeply entwined with the moving tale of how Danny and Ron rescued each other.

From the heartbreaking stories of animals unable to be returned to their families as a result of Hurricane Katrina to the animals hurt in the devastating Australian bushfires, Forever Home shows how Danny and Ron have committed their lives to doing everything in their power to save their furry friends. 

More recently, Danny and Ron have partnered with Ukrainian and international animal charities to help save animals that have been put at risk due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Forever Home
Paperback, 304 pages
Publisher: Affirm Press, 31 January 2023

RRP: $32.99 from

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